Achimota Forest ecotourism project set to begin

Mr Samuel Afari Dartey, Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission (FC), has stated that the six-member strategic development committee mandated to develop a roap map and modalities for the development of the Achimota Forest into a major ecotourism destination, had submitted its report.

The report, which was accompanied by a strategic business plan, has been ratified by cabinet.

“Currently, erection of sign posts and construction of the main entrance have started as part of the implementation plan”, he said.

He made these remarks when he addressed the Board of Commissioners and staff of the commission in Accra.

Priorities for 2014
Mr Dartey stated that the FC,  in 2014,  would focus on human capital development through training and refresher programmes for staff of the commission as well as the facilitation of forest and wildlife development and management across the country.

Priority, he said would also be given to the development of the timber industry.

Protection of staff and reserves
Touching on the security of staff and forest reserves, Mr Dartey said the commission had established eight rapid reponse teams to fight illegal timber operators and poachers.  

“Teams of the Rapid Response Unit have been deployed to some forest districts including Sefwi-Wiawso, Bole, Kumawu, Buipe/Damongo and Nkwatia”, he said.

Mr Dartey expressed concern about the attack on staff by poachers and illegal timber operators and recalled that last year, two forest and wildlife guards were murdered in cold blood while carrying out their duties.

Many other forestry personnel had been assaulted and injured by these illegal timber operators, he added. 

Illegal exports
According to Mr Dartey, the European Union (EU) had enacted some regulations which sought to restrict access of illegal timber to member countries in the EU.

He also said that the regulation would ensure that exporters procured credible documentation on their consignment.

Mr Dartey cautioned staff of the FC against any malpractice that might impede the achievement of goals set by the Commission.

According to Mr Dartey, any staff found culpable of breaching the commission’s regulations would be rigorously dealt with.

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